25 of 366: The Queen of Versailles


I’ve been on a bit of a documentary kick with this week, the latest being The Queen of Versailles.

It’s an interesting story, but I’m not exactly sure it’s worthy of a documentary. It’s a genre that allows you to have a glimpse into someone else’s life, learn about history, social issues, art, etc., but The Queen of Versailles just didn’t work for me in that regard.

Director Lauren Greenfield explores the life and beginnings of Jackie and David Siegel, who is the developer of Westgate Hotels. The couple, at the height of their success, was building the largest house in the U.S., and then the stock market crashed.

The 90,000 square-foot house was set to have a ballroom, 10 kitchens, a bowling alley, roller skating rink, you name it; but the family had to put it, and a lot of their assets on the market to stay afloat and keep up with loans on other properties in the works.

David Siegel built his empire from the ground up and he, along with Jackie, came from humble beginnings growing up. To me, that’s the more interesting part of the story rather than the focus on their riches and struggles in the economic recession.

They lost a lot, but so did a lot of people, so I just find it to be kind of an aimless story that doesn’t live up to its potential. Again, Greenfield chose an interesting subject with some layers the general public may not have known about, but she didn’t pick a direction that kept me in tune with the characters or ultimately feeling a sense that their story expanded my vision of the world in any way.



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